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“We’re fighting the No.1 contender in the division” – Kelvin Gastelum on accepting the Shavkat Ramonov fight

10 months ago By Sports Desk
"We're fighting the No.1 contender in the division" - Kelvin Gastelum on accepting the Shavkat Ramonov fight

Kelvin Gastelum is gearing up for a move to the welterweight division after a lengthy stint at middleweight. In September, the former TUF winner and interim title challenger will square off against unbeaten Kazakh phenom Shavkat Rakhmonov.

Gastelum sees Rakhmonov as the No.1 contender in the 170-pound division. ‘Nomad’ has never tasted defeat in his professional career and boasts a 100% finish rate. Wins over Neil Magny and Geoff Neal vaulted Rakhmonov up to the No.6 spot in the welterweight rankings, and Gastelum will break into the top tier of the division if he comes out on top.

In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Gastelum said:

“I’m dropping down to 170 [pounds]. I’m going all in. We’re fighting, in my opinion, the No.1 contender in the welterweight division. He’s undefeated. All finishes. 17-0. But at the same time, I feel like all my stars are aligning.”

Catch Kevin Gastelum’s comments below (3:36):

Kelvin Gastelum and Shavkat Rakhmonov will collide in the co-main event of the UFC’s Fight Night Show slated for September 16th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will be headlined by the highly anticipated rematch between former flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko and current champion Alexa Grasso.

The victor of the Rakhmonov vs. Gastelum will be in a strong position concerning the UFC welterweight title. Reigning champion Leon Edwards is expected to take on Colby Covington later this year, but no official announcement has been made. Moreover, top-ranked contender Belal Muhammad has been promised the next title shot after his win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 288.


Kelvin Gastelum’s UFC career so far

Kelvin Gastelum broke onto the scene as a participant in season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. He held a 5-0 record at the time and advanced his record to 6-0 with his decision win over Uriah Hall in the season finale, earning a UFC contract.

Gastelum enjoyed a strong start to his UFC career, winning his first four fights against Brian Melancon, Rick Story, Nico Museke and Jake Ellenberger. He then suffered the first loss of his professional career, losing via split decision to Tyron Woodley. After numerous weight misses in his early UFC run, Gastelum then moved up to the middleweight division.

Kelvin Gastelum went on to pick up wins over the likes of Nate Marquardt, Johny Hendricks and Tim Kennedy over the next three years. Back-to-back wins over Michael Bisping and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza saw Gastelum earn his shot at UFC gold. He squared off against Israel Adesanya at UFC 236, with the interim middleweight championship on the line.

Gastelum pushed Adesanya to the absolute limit but ultimately came up short on the judges’ scorecards. He endured a disappointing run of form after that, going 1-4 in his next five fights, losing to Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. He returned to winning ways at UFC 287 earlier this year, edging a decision win over Chris Curtis.

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